The following is a guest post by Jeff Korhan. I’ve long admired Jeff’s marketing writing and thought this post, in particular, was one of those “I couldn’t have said it better myself” ones. Thanks, Jeff!
Too many businesses are overwhelmed with social media, and for good reason. Even those with abundant resources cannot manage all of the major social media channels well. Facebook advertising alone is a major undertaking.
If you narrow your focus to one or two channels, then it’s only a matter of building the discipline of doing at least one thing each day to get results. We’ll get to that later; because social media is just one of 4 pillars that comprise a solid online marketing foundation.
Here they are in order of importance.
#1 – An Optimized and Responsive Website
Online marketing always starts with content. So, every business needs an SEO optimized and mobile responsive website as its digital home SEO is an important factor and building a website is essential, the Website Speed An SEO Factor that must be taken into consideration. Companies similar to Ram Digital (https://ram-digital.co.uk) can provide some useful information on how to speed up websites if you’re interested.
. This is why I’m partnering with New Rainmaker to help small businesses build and maintain this essential digital marketing asset.
Besides educating your community about how your business can help them, the primary purpose of your website is building your list.
#2 – A Growing Email Newsletter Audience
Yes, growing your email newsletter list is just as important as having a first class website, maybe more. This content marketing asset is your business lifeline. It’s how you can reach out to your community, regardless of what’s happening with the social networks.
#3 – A Regularly Published Blog
Now you need a place on the web to share your content. This could be any of the social media channels, but I’m going to suggest starting with a blog on a domain you own. Here’s why.
Most newsletters only have an open rate of 20%, more or less. So, for a small time investment, why not extend the life of that content in part or full by publishing it to your blog? There it will live forever, and be available for sharing on the social web.
#4 – One or Two Active Social Media Channels
Once you have those three components in place, it’s necessary to choose your best social media networks. Considerations should be YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest. These are the majors.
To give you an example of how this works, take a look at the social shares on this podcast interview with Google+ expert Martin Shervington. Martin focuses on one network – Google+. Those 200+ shares are proof that his engaged Google+ community is enormously responsive to what he shares with them.
That’s all there is to this. Create content that serves a useful purpose. Own it. Then use social media to build a community around it that loves it as much as you do. More and more businesses seem to be making use of Instagram to build their brand. Perhaps that has something to do with the potential worldwide reach that a business could have by posting pictures of their products online. Companies are also able to engage with customers directly on Instagram. By using applications like igdm, sending instagram messages online has never been easier. Ensuring that customers aren’t left unanswered for days is a key part of building a successful business.
Choosing the correct social media platform will depend on the sort of people you’re looking to reach, perhaps doing some research beforehand would be a good idea.
Here’s how to build the practice for doing this well.
Build the Discipline of One
This is very simple. Just create a daily or weekly plan of one activity that will improve your online marketing. The key is actually writing out a schedule and sticking with it. If you need a free source for downloading blank calendar templates, try this one.
How is your business doing with each of the 4 pillars?
Most of us need to upgrade our websites. Try breaking that down into small action items. Then do one thing every day that leads to their completion. In regards to your newsletter, blog, and social media updates, your business is either doing them consistently or it isn’t.
In addition to scheduling your online marketing, consider scheduling your other sales and marketing activities. I have a daily schedule for calling and emailing at least one small business association that has hired me in the past for reconnecting and letting them know new ways I can help their members. This can also be a good time to ask for a referral.
About the Author: Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast. He helps businesses adapt their traditional sales and marketing practices to a digital, social, and global world.
Need help marketing your business? Contact Martha for a Free 30-minute Consultation. Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based small business branding, marketing and social media expert. She is the author of The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog.